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Legal Basics for Working at CDC/ATSDR: What You Need to Know and Why You Should Care Module 1 HHS Office of the General Counsel CDC/ATSDR (404)639-7200. Module 1. Introduction to CDC’s Office of the General Counsel CDC’s Authorities Federal Appropriations Law Paperwork Reduction Act

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Legal Basics for Working at CDC/ATSDR: What You Need to Know and Why You Should CareModule 1HHS Office of the General CounselCDC/ATSDR (404)639-7200

module 1
Module 1
  • Introduction to CDC’s Office of the General Counsel
  • CDC’s Authorities
  • Federal Appropriations Law
  • Paperwork Reduction Act
  • Federal Records Act
  • Copyright Act
office of the general counsel ogc cdc atsdr program attorneys
Office of the General Counsel (OGC) CDC/ATSDR Program Attorneys

Paula Kocher, Deputy Associate General Counsel

Deborah Tress, Principal Senior Attorney

Mary Armstrong Mark Kashdan Kenya Ford Alice Kelley

Joe Foster Kevin Malone

Sudevi Ghosh Robert McGolerick

Eva Holland Jim Misrahi

James Holt Leslie Page-Taylor Heather Horton Katy Runyan

Emily Howell Joanna Stettner

Michael Rafky

office of the general counsel region iv atlanta attorneys
Office of the General CounselRegion IV (Atlanta) Attorneys

Marie Ransley Murray Kampf

Robert Nerthling Jocelyn Cerrito

  • EEO
  • Personnel Litigation
  • Contracts

services provided by ogc
Services Provided by OGC
  • Legal Advice
  • Interpret Statutory and Regulatory Authority
  • Assist in Rulemaking Dockets and Federal Register Notices
  • Review Documents for Legal Sufficiency
    • Program Announcements
    • Letters
    • MOUs/MOAs
    • Policy Statements
  • Contact Point for Government and Private Attorneys
  • Assist DOJ in Civil Litigation and Criminal Prosecutions
cdc s authorities for conducting public health activities
CDC’s Authorities for Conducting Public Health Activities

CDC’s underlying authorities for conducting public health activities and furthering its mission include, but are not limited to:

  • The Public Health Service Act
  • The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA)
  • Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (EEOICPA)
  • Federal Mine Safety and Health Acts of 1969

and 1977  

  • Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
  • Appropriation Laws
cdc s authorities for conducting public health activities1
CDC’s Authorities for Conducting Public Health Activities

Key Points:

  • CDC must have the legal authority to do whatever activity it wants to do
  • Contact: OGC
federal appropriations law authorizing legislation vs appropriations laws
Authorization laws establish, continue or modify federal programs and are a prerequisite for Congress to appropriate budget authority for programs

Appropriations laws provide the actual funding for federal programs

Federal Appropriations LawAuthorizing Legislation vs. Appropriations Laws
federal appropriations law
Federal Appropriations Law

Key Points:

  • Graduate School/USDA course in Federal Appropriations Law (offered multiple times each year)
  • Contact: OGC
paperwork reduction act
Paperwork Reduction Act

The purpose of the Paperwork Reduction Act is to reduce the federal burden on the public and maximize the practical utility and public benefit of any information that is collected by the federal government

the paperwork reduction act and omb clearance
The Paperwork Reduction Act and OMB Clearance
  • A data collection requires OMB approval when:
    • It involves 10 or more respondents in any 12-month period (both domestic and international) AND
    • It involves the use of identical questions, identical reporting or recordkeeping requirements, or asking respondents to provide the same level of information on the same subject AND
    • The federal government is sponsoring the data collection (such as a contract or cooperative agreement)
the paperwork reduction act
The Paperwork Reduction Act

Key Points:

  • Applies to questions asked:
    • In writing
    • Electronically
    • Through phone calls
    • In-person interviews
  • Contact: Maryam Daneshvar (404-639-4604)
federal records act
Federal Records Act

What are Federal Records?

Documentary material, regardless of format, created or received in the course of federal business

CDC Record Control Schedule: Examples

Administrative records: 5 Years

Epidemiological case studies: 20 Years

Final reports/studies/publications: Permanent

federal records act1
Federal Records Act

Key Points:

  • Records belong to CDC, not to individuals
  • Contact: Mary Wilson (404-498-1552)
copyright act
Copyright Act
  • Copyright is a form of protection provided by federal law for original works of authorship
  • Applies to literary works, including books, magazines, journals and newspapers, as well as photographs, videos, artistic and other intellectual work
  • Protected regardless of the media in which they are created or reproduced (e.g. electronic works are also protected)
copyright act fair use
Copyright Act“Fair Use”
  • Federal copyright law permits, for certain purposes, the “fair use” of copyrighted material, i.e., use without the copyright owner’s permission
  • Many Government uses of copyrighted materials for internal purposes are “fair”; however, the Government IS SUBJECT to copyright infringement
  • Copyright protection is not available for works prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties
copyright act1
Copyright Act

Key Points:

  • Generally, in lieu of signing a publisher’s copyright form or book contract, CDC authors should use CDC’s standard copyright form or standard book agreement
  • Contact: OGC
contact information for important cdc offices
Office of the General Counsel

Paula Kocher


The Paperwork Reduction Act/OMB Clearance

Maryam Daneshvar


Records Management

Mary Wilson (404-498-1552)

Contact Information for Important CDC Offices

Legal Basics for Working at CDC/ATSDR: What You Need to Know and Why You Should CareModule 2HHS Office of the General CounselCDC/ATSDR (404)639-7200

module 2
Module 2
  • Privacy Laws
    • Privacy Act
    • HIPAA Privacy Rule
    • Assurance of Confidentiality laws
  • Open Government Laws
    • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
    • Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)
privacy act
Privacy Act
  • Pertains only to records retrieved by a personal identifier
  • Generally permits access to personal information only by the person to whom the records pertain
privacy act common exceptions
Privacy Act: Common Exceptions
  • If disclosure required under FOIA
  • Routine use as defined by the agency
  • At written request of head of federal agency for law enforcement purposes
  • To GAO, if requested as part of an audit
    • GAO Contact: Alyce Burton (404-639-7243)
  • Court order
privacy act1
Privacy Act

Key Points:

  • The Privacy Act does 2 main things:
      • Protects an individual’s privacy
      • Provides an individual access to his own information contained in a Privacy Act system of records
  • CDC must maintain in its records only such information about individual as is relevant and necessary to accomplish the purpose of the agency
  • Contact: OGC
the hipaa privacy rule
The HIPAA Privacy Rule
  • Regulation provides protection for the privacy of certain individually identifiable health data (“protected health information”)
the hipaa privacy rule1
The HIPAA Privacy Rule
  • The Privacy Rule expressly permits disclosures without individual authorization to public health authorities authorized by law to receive such information to perform public health activities
the hipaa privacy rule2
Key Points:

CDC is not a covered entity. Therefore CDC is not required to comply with the Privacy Rule. CDC protects individually identifiable health information pursuant to other Federal laws (e.g. FOIA and the Privacy Act), but NOT pursuant to HIPAA

CDC may receive PHI from covered entities, because CDC is a public health authority authorized by law to receive such information for public health purposes. Covered entities MAY, but ARE NOT REQUIRED to, provide PHI to CDC

Contact: Gail Horlick (404-639-4613)

The HIPAA Privacy Rule
certificates and assurances of confidentiality
Certificates and Assurances of Confidentiality

Key Points:

  • 308(d)—specifically for CDC—protects the confidentiality of individuals AND institutions
  • 301(d) is used mostly for grants and cooperative agreements funded by CDC
  • Contact: Cheryl Coble (404-639-4791)
freedom of information act foia
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
  • Permits access to all records kept by CDC unless an exemption applies
  • “Records” includes drafts, phone messages, marginal notes
  • Records must be in control of CDC at time of request
foia exemptions
FOIA Exemptions
  • 1) Classified information
  • 2) Internal personnel rules and practices by the agency
  • 3) Records protected from release by other statutes
  • 4) Trade secrets, commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential
  • 5) Inter or intra agency memoranda which would not be available by law to a party in litigation by the agency
  • 6) Personal privacy of individuals
  • 7) Information compiled for law enforcement purposes
  • 8) Bank examining data used by those supervising financial institutions
  • 9) Geological or geophysical information concerning wells
foia openness prevails
  • On January 21, 2009, President Obama issued a Memorandum related to FOIA. The President stated:
    • “In the face of doubt, openness prevails . . . all agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure.”
    • “The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosures.”
    • “The presumption of disclosure also means that agencies should take affirmative steps to make information public.”
foia openness prevails1
  • On March 19, 2009 the Attorney General issued new guidelines governing FOIA. The Guidelines:
    • Encourage agencies to release records in part whenever they cannot be released in full.
    • The Department of Justice will only defend a denial of a FOIA request if:
      • The agency reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm an interest protected by one of the statutory exemptions, or
      • Disclosure is prohibited by law.

Key Points:

  • Records include e-mails!
  • Contact: Lynn Armstrong (404-639-7270)
federal advisory committee act faca
Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)
  • Law requires legal chartering of advisory committees
  • Meetings must be open and advertised in Federal Register
  • Committee membership must be balanced
  • Mistakes in procedure can result in lawsuits against agency
  • Does not usually apply to individual consultant meetings

Key Points:

  • Think about FACA if a group is composed—even partially—of private sector persons for the purpose of giving consensus advice to the Federal Government
  • Contact: Elizabeth Millington (404-498-3494)
contact information for important cdc offices1
Office of the General Counsel

Paula Kocher



Gail Horlick


Freedom of Information Act

Lynn Armstrong


GAO Coordinator

Alyce Burton


Certificates and Assurances of Confidentiality

Cheryl Coble



Elizabeth Millington (404-498-3494)

Contact Information for Important CDC Offices

Legal Basics for Working at CDC/ATSDR:What You Need to Know and Why You Should CareModule 3HHS Office of the General CounselCDC/ATSDR (404)639-7200

module 3
Module 3


  • Standards of Conduct
  • Outside Activities
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Co-sponsorships/Collaborations
employee standards of conduct
Employee Standards of Conduct
  • Standards of Conduct are set out in 5 C.F.R. Pt. 2635 (for all Federal employees) and 45 C.F.R. Pt. 73 (for all HHS employees)
  • The Standards of Conduct include, among other things:
    • Limits on the acceptance of gifts
    • Post-Federal employment rules
    • Policies on outside activities
  • New supplemental standards (5 C.F.R. Pts. 5501 and 5502) established 2/3/05
employee standards of conduct1
Employee Standards of Conduct

Key Points:

  • AllFederal government Executive Branch employees must follow the Standards of Conduct
  • Contact: Teresa Walker-Mason


outside activities
Outside Activities
  • Outside Activities: paid or unpaid work outside the scope of federal employment
  • Prior approval is required for certain Outside Activities using form HHS-520
  • HHS-520 must be renewed annually
  • An annual accounting of ALL outside activities must be submitted via form HHS-521
outside activities1
Outside Activities

Key Points:

  • Generally, outside activities which require advance approval include (but are not limited to) the following:
    • Writing, editing, or publishing that relates to official duties
    • Teaching or lecturing that relates to official duties
    • All professional services, including outside CLINICAL practice
    • Service on boards or committees
  • Contact: Teresa Walker-Mason (404-639-5003)
conflicts of interest
Conflicts of Interest
  • What constitutes a criminal conflict of interest?
    • Employees cannot participate in Government matters that can affect their own or imputed financial interests (18 U.S.C. § 208)
conflicts of interest1
Conflicts of Interest

Key Points:

  • Resolve Conflicts through:
    • Divestiture
    • Reassignment
    • Waiver/Authorization
    • Recusal
  • Contact: Teresa Walker-Mason


co sponsorship collaboration
  • Co-sponsorship: the joint development of a conference, seminar, symposium, educational program, public information campaign, or similar event related to the mission of CDC by CDC and one or more non-federal entities
  • Collaboration: a voluntary interaction between CDC and one or more private sector organizations in which both parties work together to carry out their missions; basis for the interaction not found in statutory or other law
co sponsorship collaboration1

Key Points:

  • Guidance documents:
    • CDC’s Co-Sponsorship Policy (MASO)
    • CDC Guidance on Collaboration with the Private Sector (MASO)
    • OGC Ethics Division Guidance (OGC)
  • NCHM Partnership Toolkit
  • Contact: OGC
contact information for important cdc offices2
Office of the General Counsel

Paula Kocher


Ethics and Conflicts of Interest

Teresa Walker-Mason


Contact Information for Important CDC Offices
legal basics for working at cdc atsdr legal basics for working at cdc atsdr

What You Need to Know and Why You Should Care

Module 4HHS Office of the General CounselCDC/ATSDR (404)639-7200

Legal Basics for Working at CDC/ATSDR: Legal Basics for Working at CDC/ATSDR:

module 4
Module 4
  • Anti-Lobbying Act
  • Testimony Regulations
  • Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)
anti lobbying act
Anti-Lobbying Act
  • Federal law (18 U.S.C. 1913) prohibits the direct or indirect use of appropriated funds for “any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter or other device intended . . . to influence . . . a Member of Congress” in acting on legislation either before or after its introduction.
additional recent restrictions on the use of appropriated funds for lobbying
Additional, Recent Restrictions on the Use of Appropriated Funds for Lobbying
  • Since FY 1997, appropriations law has restricted the use of Federal funds for lobbying for or against legislation pending before state legislatures.
  • As a matter of policy, CDC extends these prohibitions against lobbying with respect to local legislation and local legislative bodies.
anti lobbying act1
Anti-Lobbying Act
  • Subject to management approval, you MAY:
    • appear before an individual or group for the purpose of informing the public about the Administration’s position on a policy or legislation
    • testify at the request of a state or local legislature to provide scientific and technical information
anti lobbying act2
Anti-Lobbying Act
  • You MAY NOT:
    • engage in grass roots lobbying campaigns of letters, e-mails, or other private forms of communication expressly asking recipients to contact members of Congress, in support of or opposition to pending legislation
  • Contact: OGC
testimony regulations
Testimony Regulations
  • 45 CFR Part 2 governs testimony by employees and former employees of the Department of Health and Human Services in proceedings in which the United States is not a party
  • In general, HHS employees do not participate in matters involving private litigation
  • The basis for this policy is the necessity of HHS to maintain impartiality in disputes between private parties and to minimize the disruption of official duties of the agency
testimony regulations1
Testimony Regulations

Key Points:

  • Contact OGC if you get a call from a private sector attorney
  • Contact: OGC
testimony regulations2
Testimony Regulations
  • The courts (including the U.S. Supreme Court) have recognized the authority of federal agencies to limit their involvement in such private actions
testimony regulations3
Testimony Regulations
  • The testimony regulations require the satisfaction of three criteria before testimony by an HHS employee is allowed:

1) The request must be in writing and state the nature of the testimony

2) The request must explain why the testimony is unavailable by any other means

3) The request must provide reasons why the testimony would be in the interests of HHS or the Federal Government

federal tort claims act ftca
Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)
  • What is a tort?
    • A civil (as opposed to criminal) wrong for which a remedy may be obtained, usually in the form of money damages
    • Examples of torts and tort cases:
      • Personal injury
      • Slander
      • Libel
      • Property damage
      • Products liability
      • Motor vehicle cases
      • Medical malpractice
  • A limited waiver of sovereign immunity
  • Regarding claims for money against the United States
  • For injury or loss of property, or personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment
  • Under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred
  • If sued, an employee must request representation from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • DOJ certifies whether the employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment at the time that the alleged negligent or wrongful act occurred
  • If DOJ certifies in the negative, the individual employee must defend the action and pay the cost of any adverse judgment at his or her own expense
  • If DOJ certifies in the affirmative, the United States defends the action and pays the cost of any money judgment

Key Points:

  • Does NOTapply outside the U.S.
  • Does NOT apply to reckless, willful, or criminal conduct
  • Contact: OGC